Telling an awesome story can often mean the difference between a great speech and a lacklustre speech. Here are 3 ways to make any story awesome when you a delivering a public speech.
Have you ever told a bad story?
You feel like it’s building up to a crescendo as you tell it but then … nothing happens. People ask, “Is that it? Is that the end?” It can be a very awkward moment.
“And then I found fifty dollars!” you conclude. Or “I woke up and it was all a dream.” Your story had no point and no meaning.
So how do we make our stories engaging and interesting?
Tip#1: Give the right amount of detail
You don’t want to give too many details. But you also need to give enough details.
You might start a story with “When I was eighteen” or “When I was in Year 12”. But you won’t say, “When I was in Year 12 and it was a sunny day in January and we had just started school and it was about 12 o’clock – or was it 10 o’clock? – actually no because it was in the afternoon and we were having an afternoon assembly …”
You can tell right now that there is way too much information.
What you want to do is give enough details that people can follow you. “When I was in high school …” You’re bringing people into the situation. That builds context around your story.
But when you start to go granular you risk losing your audience. Include the details that move you toward the whole point of your story. Try and remove the added detail that doesn’t actually add to the story.
Tip#2: Be relevant to your audience
I work in the pharmaceutical industry. We talk about things like Atorvastatin and Rosuvastatin. We talk about brand names like Lipitor and Crestor.
But my wife doesn’t know what any of these things are. She doesn’t know what they do. So when I talk to her about my work I need to make it relevant to her.
Use words that make sense to and are meaningful to your audience. Make it relevant to the crowd. Don’t use words and concepts that they don’t understand.
Give as much information as you can to the person to make it relevant for them.
Tip#3: Get to the point
The best stories are ones that have a moral or message or something exciting that happens at the end.
Your story needs to have a point. Don’t tell a story for the sake of a story. This is the best way to avoid those awkward moments where your story never really comes to fruition. Know what your point is and make the journey to it succinct and clear.
And there you have three things to think about when you’re adding stories into your speeches.